Easy 30-Minute Meals for Any Night of the Week

30-minute meals: a healthy grain bowl

It’s Monday night at 6 p.m. You just got off work and know that you didn’t have time to meal prep yesterday.

Rather than stop at your favorite Thai restaurant for takeout on your way home, consider making one of the recipes listed below. If you have half an hour to spare, you can make any one of these 30-minute meals.

13 Easy Dinner Ideas Ready in 30 Minutes or Less

These easy recipes are ideal for any hectic workweek. Ready in less than half an hour, they make the perfect weeknight meals.

1. Tomato Asiago Pork Tenderloin Skillet

30-minute meals: Tomato Asiago Pork Tenderloin Skillet
Image: My Life Cookbook

If you ever made pork chops before, you know the looming possibility that your dish will turn out incredibly dry. Here’s the master chef secret to solve that little issue: Always pair pork tenderloin with a sauce. In this dish, pork tenderloin is paired with a rich, creamy sauce made from asiago cheese, garlic, heavy cream, and sundried tomatoes that takes just 10 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to cook.

2. Cheesy Mexican Quinoa Skillet

30-minute meals: Cheesy Mexican Quinoa Skillet
Image: Love in My Oven

Want to know a time-saving hack few home chefs are aware of? Cook in cast iron. With cast iron, you can prepare a one-skillet dish that can be easily transported from your prep station to the stovetop to the oven, without needing to dirty another dish (saving you time on cleanup).

This vegetarian Mexican dish combines onions, red bell peppers, salsa, black beans, corn, and jack cheese into a deliciously-cheesy, wonderfully-spicy dinner.

3. Vegetarian Thai Peanut Noodles

30-minute meals: Vegetarian Thai Peanut Noodles
Image: Cook with Manali

Making this is faster than ordering takeout (and yes, we stand by that statement). Coming together in under 30 minutes, this recipe combines your favorite Asian flavors, including sesame oil, garlic, ginger, peanuts, and soy sauce, into an incredibly-satisfying sauce. Dunk spaghetti, onions, bell peppers, and carrots into the sauce for a dish that’s much more flavorful than carryout.

4. Un-Stuffed Bell Peppers Skillet

30-minute meals: Un-Stuffed Bell Peppers Skillet
Image: The Life Jolie

Do you love stuffed peppers but find the assembly process a bit too cumbersome? We understand completely. This unstuffed version takes out most of the prep work, but keeps all the flavors including onions, red peppers, garlic, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and cheese. It’s ready to eat in just 30 minutes and reheats well, making it perfect for leftovers throughout the week.

5. Baked Chicken Parmesan With Zucchini Noodles

30-minute meals: Baked Chicken Parmesan With Zucchini Noodles
Image: Eat Yourself Skinny

If you’ve never made zucchini noodles before, let us reassure you: The process is much simpler than you think. A spiralizer is incredibly easy to use (not so much to clean, but we digress), and there’s no need to actually cook your zoodles, saving you a few precious minutes. This low-carb, Italian comfort food comes together in 25 minutes and is sure to become a weeknight staple.

6. The Best Sloppy Joes

30-minute meals: The Best Sloppy Joes
Image: Meaningful Eats

Who didn’t love sloppy joes when they were growing up? This easy recipe combines all the flavors you remember from your childhood and goes from prep-to-table in less than half an hour. Combine onions, green peppers, red peppers, and ground turkey in a skillet, toss with a sauce made from barbecue, ketchup, and worcestershire and simmer for 10 minutes before serving.

7. Chicken and Broccoli With Mushrooms

30-minute meals: Chicken and Broccoli With Mushrooms
Image: Lisa G Cooks

This easy stir-fry recipe is a lightened-up version of the classic beef and broccoli. The sauce is made using your favorite Asian-inspired flavors, including soy sauce, beef stock, hoisin, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic. Sauté your veggies in a skillet, add in your sauce, bring to a boil, and simmer until the sauce thickens. Serve it over white or brown rice for a complete meal in less than 20 minutes.

8. Cilantro Lime Shrimp and Rice

30-minute meals: Cilantro Lime Shrimp Rice
Image: A Saucy Kitchen

Sometimes, the most time-consuming component of meal prep isn’t the actual cooking — it’s the cleanup afterward. One-pot or one-sheet pan meals cut down on your time in the kitchen by eliminating the number of dishes you have to wash (does that sound nice or what?!).

This shrimp and rice recipe is made in a cast-iron skillet on the stovetop, and takes just five minutes of prep time. Simply combine onions, peppers, and shrimp in a skillet and cook thoroughly. Remove your ingredients from the heat, then prepare your rice in the exact same pan. Once your rice is cooked, add the other ingredients back in to allow your flavors to mingle before serving.

9. Easy Chicken Fajitas

30-minute meals: Easy Chicken Fajitas
Image: Chef Savvy

These incredibly easy, 20-minute, skillet chicken fajitas are packed with your favorite Mexican flavors. First, you’ll marinade chicken in spices, lime, and olive oil, then you’ll toss your chicken in a cast-iron skillet with a variety of bell peppers, onions, and garlic. Serve with flour or corn tortillas, or make a fajita bar with lettuce, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and your other favorite toppings.

10. Easy Greek Quinoa Salad

30-minute meals: Easy Greek Quinoa Salad
Image: Food Fanatic

This quinoa salad could not be easier to make and can be gobbled up for lunch or dinner. Quinoa, cucumber, black olives, grape tomatoes, and feta are tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette for a protein-packed, vegetarian dish that’s both light and refreshing. This salad will keep for five days in your fridge, so save yourself even more time throughout the week and make a double batch, using the rest for leftovers.

11. Vietnamese Beef Lettuce Wraps

30-minute meals: Vietnamese Beef Lettuce Wraps
Image: A Calculated Whisk

Don’t let the photo fool you — these lettuce wraps are much easier to prepare than the pretty picture suggests. First, you’ll whisk together a homemade sauce made with soy sauce, fish sauce, honey, and sesame oil. You’ll combine the sauce with ground beef and garlic in a skillet, then toss in pickled carrots. To serve, spoon into butter lettuce leaves with radishes and cooked rice.

12. Easy Fried Rice

30-minute meals: Easy Fried Rice
Image: Zoom Yummy

Have you ever tried to make fried rice at home? Don’t be intimidated, the process definitely falls within your skill level. This easy fried rice recipe takes just 15 minutes to prep and 10 to cook. You’ll combine carrots, corn, peas, scallions, and eggs into a skillet. Toss it with basmati rice, then season with soy sauce. Top it with peanuts, cilantro, or other toppings of your choice, and serve.

13. Quick and Easy Lemon Garlic Chicken Pasta and Asparagus

30-minute meals: Quick and Easy Lemon Garlic Chicken Pasta and Asparagus
Image: Becky’s Best Bites

Looking for an easy pasta dish you can prepare any night of the week? This Italian main dish is a complete meal served in one bowl, combining chicken, asparagus, and noodles in a creamy sauce. With just 10 minutes of prep, this dish is ready to serve in half an hour.

When You Have Zero Minutes to Spare, Try Tovala

Sometimes, even a 30-minute dinner is too much to ask. For an easy weeknight dinner that takes precisely zero effort from you and your calendar, try Tovala.

Tovala doesn’t just cook your meals for you — it handles every stage of the meal prep process. Part kitchen appliance, part home chef, Tovala delivers healthy, delicious meals straight to your front door. Simply scan the barcode on each meal, then watch as your Tovala Oven cooks your meals on autopilot. There’s no stress, no mess, and certainly no cleanup. Click here to see if Tovala would be the perfect solution to your hectic lifestyle.